Football

Published: Thursday February 6, 2014 MYT 8:28:01 PM
Updated: Thursday February 6, 2014 MYT 8:28:10 PM

Wilshere may return as Arsenal seek to dominate Liverpool

LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal hope to have midfielder Jack Wilshere back for Saturday's Premier League clash with Liverpool, a match manager Arsene Wenger says his side must "dominate" if they are to contain free-scoring Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.

Sturridge and Suarez have scored a combined 37 goals for fourth-placed Liverpool this season, and Wenger said leaders Arsenal could not sit back and defend if they hoped to stifle a side that is "strong offensively".

"We need to dominate the game in order to keep Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge quiet," he told a news conference on Thursday.

"Liverpool are strong offensively with Sturridge, Suarez, (Philippe) Coutinho, (Raheem) Sterling and (Steven) Gerrard. Liverpool are in a better position than when we last played them. They have momentum.

"We must control possession. Saturday is a good moment for us to win a big game because we have a big month ahead."

Arsenal are two points clear at the top of the league, but face a busy period of fixtures in which they will play five times in 14 days, starting with the trip to Anfield.

Wenger hopes to have England international Wilshere back from an ankle injury on Saturday, ahead of a week when they host Manchester United in the league and play Liverpool again the FA Cup fifth round.

"We might have Wilshere back. It's important to have as many players back as possible in the squad. In the big games it is always decided by having the complete squad available," Wenger said.

The Frenchman believes his squad can cope with the heavy schedule ahead, which also includes a Champions League round of 16 tie with Bayern Munich, and said they were physically and mentally prepared to fight to the very end in the race for the title.

"When you're in a good position to fight for something of course the closer you get to the end the more every game becomes vital," he said.

"We did fight very hard until now to be in this position so let's just enjoy it and give our best. I'm sure we will.

"Mentally we are prepared and we have shown a great response throughout the season when we had difficulties. Physically we are prepared as well."

(Reporting By Sam Holden; editing by Josh Reich)

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